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Stocks to watch: Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, Essar Power
June, 27th 2008

The market is headed for a turbulent session Friday amid extremely weak global markets, record crude oil prices and inflationary concerns. To make matters worse, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is understood to have given the go-ahead to prime minister Manmohan Singh to go ahead with the nuclear deal even if it means losing the government at the centre, according to reports.

Oil prices eased Friday after touching an all-time high of $140.39 per barrel. Prices soared as news spurred that Libya was considering a production cut. A comment by the OPEC president that prices could rise as high as $170 per barrel in the coming months also spurred the rally. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, August crude settled up $5.09, or 3.78 percent, at $139.64 a barrel, trading from $133.68 to $140.39.

The rupee was at 42.885/890 per dollar against its previous close of 42.675/685 on account of weak global cues and all-time high oil prices.

Inflation data, to be announced around noon, is expected to have jumped to a fresh 13-year high to 11.18 percent in the 12 months to June 14, as the effect of higher fuel prices spread to the broader economy. Annual inflation, which hit 11.05 percent in the previous week, is expected to remain in double digits for some time, finance minister P Chidambaram said on Wednesday, adding it was difficult to predict when it would peak.

To add to the negative sentiment, Standard and Poor's on Thursday cut India's economic growth forecast for the fiscal year that began in April to 7.8 per cent from 8.1 per cent, citing high inflation and rising interest rates. The Reserve Bank of India expects the gross domestic product to grow 8-8.5 percent in the current fiscal year, lower than last year's 9.0 percent.

The common man's woes have just worsened with the Railways deciding to levy special supplementary charge on carriage of commodities such as coal, ores, minerals, and crude and petroleum products. While the rate of the charge would be 5% on coal, other items would attract 7% on the freight cost. It is understood the price rise would be passed to the end-users of the items. The special charge would be valid for the second quarter, July 1-September 30.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has decided to launch a hostile bid for Israels Taro Pharmaceutical. Sun will offer to purchase all outstanding shares of Taro in the next few days at $7.75 a share, rate that both companies had agreed a year ago. The scrip ended at Rs 1342.60, up 3.03 per cent on the BSE.

Banks that wrote off farm loans in a hurry to report lower bad debt may not be compensated for such waivers under the governments farm waiver scheme. The total amount of such written off debt, which will now have to be absorbed by the banks, could go up to Rs 3000 crore. Already under pressure banking stocks will continue to be under pain.

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